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Women Who Disrupt

How Juljana Hoxha Achieved Her Dreams In High Heels

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Juljana Hoxha is a NYC-based Professional Coach specialized in Personal Transformation & Business Coaching. Her coaching programs empower people to reach their full potential and entrepreneurs to get Results by taking the hustle a-said, grow profitable, passionate, authentic businesses that allow them to live more and work less.

Please tell us, what is your backstory? How did you go from a young girl in Albania to living in NYC?

I was born-and-raised in Albania with nothing more than a burning desire to create and live my dream life, my way. I’m proud to have been crazy enough to dare to Dream Big. March 05, 2003 is a day I will never forget. It is the day I registered my business and signed the contract that would set my entrepreneur journey in motion; despite the hesitation of peoples beliefs about my ability to succeed as a young female who lives in a masculine dominated culture. I am grateful that I didn’t listen to my mom, who was more concerned with the HOW I will make it happen. I didn’t stop there. I went to study in Italy, moved to Germany where I started my family, and here I am , a wife, a mother of 2 and the owner of 2 businesses, a restaurant and a clothing store. The restaurant was doing great business, but the clothing store was losing money. While on the outside everything looked great, inside I was frustrated and confused. I thought that I was doing everything right! Why was my clothing store doing so poorly? Before I decided to follow my dreams and open my clothing store, my husband and I had opened the restaurant . So as you can imagine I didn’t have a lot of time! A mother of two, a restaurant, and a clothing store. But I was determined I had always had this dream of helping women RESTYLE THEMSELVES because I wanted them to feel confident, bold, and independent!  What I needed was to be able to put all my focus on my business, but I also wasn’t willing to abandon my husband in the restaurant, because I wanted to be a good wife and he needed my support. Deep down I felt guilty for working so much, my children were growing up so fast. I wanted to build a business that required less hours, one that wouldn’t keep me up at night worrying about if everything was going alright. I also really wanted to make a difference in women’s lives the same way that style and fashion had helped me transform from that poor little Albanian girl, to the business woman I had become. I figured if I could make my clothing store successful we could sell the restaurant, still have the money, and have more time with my family! The thing is NOTHING seemed to go right! The women in the town my clothing store was in didn’t seem to want to be stylish at all, they were all dreary and blah in their style.The advertising wasn’t working. My employees were not showing up to work. When I would close the store at night I would have to go and cover shifts at the restaurant. I was exhausted! Which meant I wasn’t able to focus on the store, let alone spend more time with my children. I felt terrible because it didn’t make sense to me.  We were successful in the restaurant business, REALLY SUCCESSFUL, but I just could getting my clothing store to work. I felt even worse about the situation because I was spending money on a business that was losing money while spending less time on the one that made money, and was away from my family even more than before. I felt like a failure as a wife, a mother, and a businesswoman all at the same time! The problem was that I was only 3 and a half years in to a 10 year lease and I had spent $1,000’s and $1,000s of dollars on social media companies, influencers, & bloggers but had virtually ZERO success and was LOSING MONEY FAST!  Which meant If I didn’t figure out something quick, I would have to close the store and still pay the 10 year lease. I would have failed at my dream and be stuck in the restaurant business forever!

What was the turning point in your life and your business?

Then one night, and it was like a miracle night because I didn’t have to be at the restaurant, I spent time online searching for something, anything that would help me turn this around. It was non negotiable, I wasn’t willing to give up on my dream! Finally I came across a man who said that he had been studying wealth creation principles for decades and had helped people all over the world to achieve success, and that if someone told him what they wanted, he could show them exactly how to get it.He was so confident, he was bold and that made me curious. So I booked a call with his team and one of his top coaches called me the next day. During that conversation I learned some very important principles. Principles that made me reinterpret my entire life. He told me that I was thinking wrong! I didn’t even know what that meant. But he said that I had to become the person inside that matched the goal I was seeking outside.

 

He said that until you learn how to think like the person you want to become, nothing would ever change.

 

Then he told me how that there were fundamental laws that governed wealth creation kinda  like the laws that govern gravity and physics. No one ever wonders if the tide will come in after it goes out or if the sun will rise. He said THERE IS ONLY A HANDFUL OF PEOPLE THAT really understand this and that’s why almost everyone is struggling and if can learn these principles and begin to think with them I could do nothing but win! I suddenly realized that I had to completely change my thinking. And I needed a mentor to show me how to do it. So I signed up for some professional coaching and did all the exercises and trainings. After I did that I started to understand the things he was teaching, and I started to dramatically shift the way I thought, the way I felt, and the way I acted! Next was I began to use the principles of wealth creation I was taught and within a very short period of time we sold the restaurant for a crazy awesome profit. I closed my clothing store and was even able to transfer the lease. I created an online course for women how to develop their own personal style, wrote the book Achieve your dreams in high heels, which I will publish this fall and most of all moved with my family to NYC where I help empower people to reach their full potential and entrepreneurs to get Results by taking the hustle a-said, grow profitable, passionate, authentic businesses that allow them to live more and work less.

Thank you so much for sharing your story. 

You can follow Juljana Hoxha on Instagram @hoxha_juljana

As an organization, we exist to empower the new generation of thought leaders, developers, creators, digital marketers and entrepreneurs, to learn new skills, grow their careers, chase their passions and create financial freedom for themselves, their families, and their lives, all while living out their true purpose. Our global campuses and pop-up workshops will help to eradicate poverty. We are part of a global movement to increase diversity in tech and grow new economies in underserved communities around the world. We enable millennials to become what they want to become in life by learning new skills and leveraging the power of the digital economy. We are living proof that all you need to succeed in this new economy is WiFi and a dream.

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Women Who Disrupt

Rock Bottoms To Success with Veronika Abrams

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What’s your backstory? 

I’ve been an entrepreneur for the last 10 years. 3 years ago I hit my personal rock bottom. I was struggling with depression, anxiety, alcohol and drug addiction in addition to a broken heart. It was a pivotal point in my life where I had the choice to either give up on my dreams or take radical responsibility and demand the best from myself and pursue my highest potential. I had to become my own Hero. I realized how I needed to curate my life in every way so that it was in alignment with my values rather than my feelings. I rebuilt my confidence and identity from the ground up again.

What made you decide to choose this career path? 

I decided to get into confidence and transformation coaching because I wanted to help others through their own rock bottom times too. I want them to understand that they can become the hero in their own story. That’s also the focus of my podcast – to highlight the hero stories of industry experts and the most successful entrepreneurs you see on social media. At one time, some of them had the water shut off, or their car repossessed. Your rock bottoms can be a launching pad to create a new identity, rather than it becoming a death sentence.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

Everything about starting something new is clumsy and ridiculous. The first coaching videos I created for IGTV on instagram, I was using a kitchen blender to prop up my laptop that I used to prop up my iphone because that camera was better – and that’s how I recorded my videos. The phone kept falling over and I’d have to start again. Thank goodness my laptop didn’t fall – I would have been really screwed! I’d have to record only at a certain time of the day, because that was the best lighting. I didn’t have a ring light or anything fancy. I’m really glad though that I took messy action like that though, because I can tell others that their imperfect yet consistent execution is worth 1000x more than waiting for that “perfect time” or doing it “the perfect way”, which never ends up happening. So just fucking do it – even if you suck. You’ll get better.

What do you think makes your company/personal brand stand out? 

I’ve very much leaned into that hero story narrative. That means telling the good, the bad, and the ugly. Things are not always great. Sometimes I even struggle with depression and I’m a coach. I truly believe that although people might aspire to is your highlight reel, what they actually connect with are your mask-off moments. The struggles. The pain. You’re doing your audience a disservice if you don’t tell them to the bad with the good. Heroes have weaknesses. Heroes fall. Heroes feel pain. And Heroes get back up again.

What’s a quote that you live by? 

Do it afraid – Joyce Meyers. I was such a shy kid growing up. I heard this quote when I was maybe 7 years old. I’ve done so many things I’m afraid of. Funny things happen though when you get in the habit of doing things that scare you – you become more resilient and less afraid of the unknown over time.

Veronika Abrams

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Women Who Disrupt

How a Cuban-American, 20-Something Woman Founded the First Female Business Coaching Brand in Florida, Isabella Silverio

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Isabella Silverio

When it comes to building businesses, investors tend to look for brands with experienced management teams. They choose ventures with a successful track record, carefully laid-out business plans, and great products and services.

That’s just how it was. But is it how it should be? While experienced entrepreneurs certainly have a lot going for them, I have been seeing a significant shift in the business community—one defined by creativity and out of the box thinking that usually, only the idealism of 20-something ingenues can deliver.

Yep—I said it: 20-somethings are fast becoming the rising stars of business.

Does that surprise you?

I first started my coaching business in my early 20’s. I was young, green, and idealistic. From a very traditional perspective, these weren’t qualities that would bolster business success. Yet I managed to grow my brand into a thriving, successful venture. I—a young, Cuban-American woman, founded the first business coaching brand focused on women in my city. And I can confidently say that my success is anchored on these qualities.

Going All Out

When you start your business young, you’re more likely to take bigger risks. That’s not to say that you’re not careful and calculated when you do, but you definitely are more open to the idea.

I grew up believing anything is possible. While studying, I was already involved in over ten tech startups, I gained solid experience in business through various programs that gave me a global perspective of business management, I learned graphic designed, mastered social media marketing—all the skills that would be a very attractive candidate for an established, blue-chip corporation. Yet I chose to start my own consultancy instead.

At the time, I figured I had the skills and experience to devote to my own venture. I was determined to ensure that my vision for my startup would become a success. And if I fell short of it, I had the time to gather my bearings and explore plan B.

In short, I had the option to go all out on my dream, and I took it.

Inexperience Breeds Creativity

We also have to stop seeing inexperience as a disadvantage.

While I may have a solid background in business, as far as the world was concerned, it wasn’t enough. That’s a big hurdle that a lot of young entrepreneurs have to contend with.

The truth is though, it was inexperience that allowed me to recognize opportunities in the business world that were largely unmet. This is the reason why I focus a lot on empowering women in this industry. For me, inexperience means you get to see things from a different perspective. I got to approach problem-solving from a totally different mindset because I wasn’t hampered by “how things should be” in business. I had the energy and the drive and it allowed me to be creative and consistent. Through the years, as I built my business, these same values continued to be essential pillars of how I run my company. Instead of following traditional strategies, my approach is recognized for bucking convention, for being innovative, and even groundbreaking.

Go For It

So if you had to take one thing away from this entire piece, let it be this: GO FOR IT.

There’s a lot of opportunities out there and if the only thing that’s stopping you is the fear that your youth is going to work against you, I stand as proof that it won’t. There will never be a better time in your life for you to take the leap and pursue that dream.

 

This is a guest article written by Isabella Silverio of Guava Empowerment LLC. For more info on Isabella be sure to follow her on Instagram.

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Women Who Disrupt

Isabella Silverio on Being a Woman in Male-Dominated Startup Culture

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Isabella Silverio

Did you know that only 28 percent of startups have a female founder?

While small, rest assured that it’s a number that’s about to rise steadily. According to the same report, “more women are joining startup boards and filling executive roles than in the recent past. […] we are moving in the right direction and need to seize the opportunity to expand inclusion of women—and other underrepresented individuals—across the startup ecosystem.”

It’s also worth noting that despite the modest number of women founders, they have consistently managed to make an incredible impact in their chosen industries. In fact, women-founded and co-founded startups are proven to yield 78 percent ROI per dollar spent.

Since my freshman year at the University of Florida Warrington College of Business, I have been involved in over 10+ tech startups. And going into it, I knew the real value that women brought to the table. Still, being in a male-dominated industry felt intimidating and was generally challenging, especially as I tried to make my mark in my chosen field.

Perhaps one of the biggest challenges for me stems from expectations of women having to incorporate stereotypically “male” attributes when it comes to careers—aggressive and overly competitive. But my decade-long immersion in startups proved that embracing your femininity and staying true to yourself is the secret to finding your voice and making yourself heard.

Unfortunately, finding the confidence to do all that can be hard. In male-dominated startups, it can often feel like earning your place in the organization is a struggle. And despite your skills, training and drive to succeed, finding your voice can be more difficult than you can possibly imagine.

When I founded my consultancy back in 2017, I started it knowing that until more women found their voice and gained the confidence needed to really be heard, this would forever be a challenge we will have to face. To that end, one of the primary goals I had, when I started my company, was to empower women.

I started what was the first and only female-focused consulting firm in the entire state of Florida. My vision was to eliminate the stigma surrounding women founders, women in business, and women entrepreneurs. And not by changing their approach to business and entrepreneurship either, but rather by empowering them and building their confidence. I was given an opportunity to do this by showing them that pre-existing biases and prejudices against women’s ability to grow their ventures shouldn’t in any way affect their success; and that women are just as competent and driven, no matter what industry they choose to be in.

My process circumvents the uncomfortable pressures that women-owned businesses face—ones that people all too often, gloss over. But if my experience in startups has taught me anything, it’s that knowing how to transform these situations is the key to our success as women. We only need more women uplifting women to nurture the confidence that is already inside of us to make an indelible mark in whatever industry we choose to be in.

 

This is a guest article written by Isabella Silverio of Guava Empowerment LLC. For more info on Isabella be sure to follow her on Instagram.

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